What better way to celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday of statehood than with a visit to some of the locations that make our state unique? Spend an afternoon, a day or a weekend exploring the history, art and traditions of what it means to be a Hoosier.
Canal History at Delphi
DELPHI — A 35-minute trip spent floating aboard the brightly-colored Delphi canal boat is the centerpiece of a visit to the Wabash and Erie Canal Interpretive Center.
A preservation group, the Wabash & Erie Canal Association, has worked tirelessly to purchase the land around the canal for restoration.
The canal village features eight attractions, many of which were donated from descendants, including the Reed Case Family Home; the Bowen Cabin; the Log School House; the Kuns Cabin; the Robison Smokehouse; the Speece Shelter; VanDerVolgen’s blacksmith shop and the fur trapper’s cabin.
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Tickets start at $4 for a tour of the Case House and $12 for an adult pass that also includes tours, admission to the museum and a canal boat ride.
The grounds also sport 10 miles of hiking trails for use free of charge. For more information, visit wabashanderiecanal.org.
Gene Stratton Porter: Girl of the Limberlost
ROME CITY — Gene Stratton-Porter is Indiana’s most widely read female author.
This author of 12 novels, including “Freckles” and “Girl of the Limberlost,” nine works of nonfiction on nature and five collections of poetry and essays, lived in the northeast corner of Indiana more than 100 years ago.
Her cabin, Wildflower Woods, is an Indiana State Historic Site open for visits and tours. The Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site offers tours and programs, such as star gazing hikes and naturalist classes. Additionally, Chautauqua Days, a two-day festival celebrating Stratton-Porter site, is scheduled to take place August 16 and 17.
Chautauqua features live music, crafts, food, birthday cake and classic automobiles. For more information visit genestratton-porter.com.
Indiana: The RV Capital of the World
ELKHART — Elkhart may be in the heart of Amish country in northern Indiana, but it is also known as the RV Capital of the World.
What better place to locate the Recreational Vehicle and Manufactured Home Hall of Fame and Museum? Follow the yellow path that traces through the museum to see one of the earliest models of a mobile home, a 1915 Model T with a 1916 telescoping apartment, a healthy selection of retro travel trailers from the 1930s and Mae West’s 1931 Housecar.
The museum is open April through October. Adult admission is $10. Visit rvmhhalloffame.org for more information.
Lafayette: A city of art
TIPPECANOE COUNTY — A little closer to home, the cities of Lafayette and adjoining West Lafayette present an opportunity for a day trip of artistic discovery with more than 80 pieces of outdoor art.
A downloadable app, “Visit Lafayette/West Lafayette,” features a complete listing of each piece and directions to each from any location.
The historic artwork on display through the cities includes statues of astronaut Neil Armstrong and aviatrix Amelia Earhart; abstract sculptures such as “Kaikoo VI” and “When Dreams Dance” and a plethora or murals in a variety of artistic styles such as “Delight of Accomplishment” on West State Street and the Jammin’ mural on Ferry Street.
For more information visit readysetgodowntown.com.
The last of the Triple XXX
WEST LAFAYETTE — And while you’re in the Lafayette area, the Triple XXX Family Restaurant at 2 N. Salisbury St. is the last of 100 Triple XXX thirst stations in the U.S. and Canada.
In case you were wondering, it derives its name from the XXX pure cane sugar root beer first sold in 1985.
The menu includes chopped steak burgers, grilled pork tenderloins, potato salad made from scratch and milk shakes.
It’s been written about in “USA Today” as one of the 51 Great Burger Joints and has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” on the Food Network.
Their website, triplexxxfamilyrestaurant.com features the slogan, “We were here before your mother was born.”
Drive-In Theaters: A Hoosier tradition
SHELBYVILLE — At one time in America, there were more than 5,000 drive-in movie theaters scattered across the county.
Today, only 366 are left.
Shelbyville’s Skyline Drive-In made the jump to a digital projection system and shows no signs of closing up shop after 66 years in business. Located at 3986 E. Michigan Road, the Skyline shows first-run movies (this week, “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “The Secret Life of Pets”).
It also hosts specialty movie nights such as Drive-In-Sanity, according to the website. Once a month, a third feature is added to the regular double-film bill, which is typically “a crazy retro film from the golden age of drive-in theater.”
General admission is $8 per adult and $4 for children 3 to 11. Sunday is carload day at $24 per carload. Visit theskylinedrivein.com for more information.
‘Let’s Go Somewhere’ is an occasional series featuring information about tourism destinations in and around central Indiana.